Exploiting intervalley scattering to harness hot carriers in III–V solar cells

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The realization of the hot carrier solar cell, a device in which high energy photo-generated carriers are extracted prior to heat generation, would enable single junction solar cells with efficiencies in excess of 50 %. Here, we use a new approach in which “hot” high energy carriers are rapidly transferred to higher energy valleys in the absorbing semiconductor to inhibit typical heat loss processes. This new method is implemented in a simple III-V solar cell under standard operating conditions, providing experimental evidence for a viable route towards the attainment of ultrahigh efficiency single band gap solar cells. 

Ian Sellers

Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma